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Standardized Test Prep in Alaska

Standardized Test Prep in Alaska
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Do you have questions about student testing in Alaska?  Knowledge about what types of standardized testing are available in Alaska can help reduce your anxiety and increase your child’s likelihood of academic success.

Standardized testing requirements vary in different states and may often change. Whether testing is required or not, homeschooling parents can use standardized testing to assess a child’s strengths and challenges. They can also gauge how a child’s performance relates to those of similar age and experience, and provide a baseline for determining progress.

Continue reading to discover how the state of Alaska’s standardized tests can be used effectively in your homeschool:

What State Tests Are Available in Alaska?

In Alaska, standardized testing is required by federal law in some grades and for certain subjects. State tests are based on Common Core Standards. Annual assessments are a standardized way to determine how well your child’s school and district are performing.

According to Alaska Regulation 4 AAC 06.710 and 4 AAC 06.712, public schools in Alaska must administer the following assessments:

  • Alaska Developmental Profile (ADP) – (Required for public school students). The ADP is given to all entering kindergarten students and first graders who missed taking the test while in kindergarten.  The ADP covers five areas of development, including approaches to learning; cognition and general knowledge; communication, language, and literacy; physical well-being, health, and motor development; and social and emotional development.
  • Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools (PEAKS) – (Required for public school students; optional for homeschoolers and can be used to satisfy required testing in grades 4, 6, and 8). PEAKS is administered to all children in grades 3-9 for ELA and math and in grades 4, 8, and 10 for science.  It is a standards-based assessment that captures performance and progress in the areas of reading and analyzing different kinds of texts, presenting and evaluating ideas and evidence, effective writing for a variety of purposes, and applied mathematical knowledge and skills.
  • Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State (ACCESS) – (Required for public school students identified as English Learners (ELs) in grades K-12).  This assessment is an English language proficiency assessment created by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium (WIDA).  It covers the domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) – (Required alternative assessment for public school “students with significant cognitive disabilities,” for whom the PEAKS assessments are not appropriate).  The assessment is administered to grades 3-9 in the areas of English language arts and math and to grades 4, 8, and 10 in science.

While student testing in Alaska is mandatory for children in public school, parents can opt out of standardized testing since 2016 when House Bill 156 (HB156) was passed. Beginning with the graduating class of 2017, public school students are no longer required to take the SAT, ACT, or ACT WorkKeys assessments as a diploma requirement.

When is Standardized Testing in Alaska?

The dates for standardized tests in Alaska vary.  Check the individual assessment websites for administration dates and locations.  Also be sure to check registration deadlines and get familiar with how long the assessments take and the requirements for what to bring on the test dates.

Here are the general times these Alaska standardized tests are offered:

  • ADP – offered in early fall
  • PEAKS – offered in late spring
  • ACCESS – offered in early spring
  • DLM – offered in late spring

Do Homeschoolers Have To Take Standardized Tests in Alaska?

Standardized testing is a homeschooling requirement in Alaska for grades 4, 6, and 8.  Any national standardized test that measures performance in English grammar, reading, spelling, and mathematics can be used.

Homeschooled students are eligible to take the ADP, PEAKS, ACCESS, or DLM assessments at public schools (with prior approval), or they can access standardized tests through alternate providers.  The SAT, ACT, and ACT Workkeys assessments are still offered at some schools.  Homeschooling parents must be able to supply test results to the Department of Education upon request.

In addition to giving you more information as to where your child stands in relation to peers, you can also gauge progress in various content areas and on particular skills.  Testing may be important if you are considering placing your child back in school (although the school may also require some placement testing prior to arrival). Test scores may also help build a stronger homeschool transcript, which is beneficial when seeking admission to some colleges and universities.

How Time4Learning Can Help with Alaska Test Prep

Time4Learning’s online PreK-12th grade curriculum can be part of the solution in helping prepare your child for standardized tests in Alaska. Here are just some of the ways that Time4Learning can help your child:

  • Our Pre-K Curriculum includes dozens of lessons that help young learners improve their communication, language, and literacy skills, all key in prepping them for standardized tests, like the ADP, taken in Kindergarten and first grade.
  • Our curriculum builds important language skills that benefit English language learners so that they can succeed in targeted language testing, such as the ACCESS assessment, and on other standardized assessments along with their English-speaking peers.
  • Our Elementary Curriculum helps prepare students with practice in foundational skills like reading comprehension,  grammar and Time4MathFacts that often are not mastered during school hours in traditional classrooms.  These skills are crucial for success on standardized tests, like the PEAKS (grades 3-5) assessment, which measures reading, writing, and math fluency.
  • Interactive and engaging lessons help motivate students to learn strategies and skills (many of which will benefit test-taking) while having fun.
  • The ability for students to redo lessons and retake tests and quizzes enables and encourages students to master material rather than just “pass” minimum standards.  Parents can point out test taking strategies; then students can try them out and experience success on another attempt.
  • Our Middle School Curriculum includes chapters, interactive activities, worksheets, and quizzes to help prepare students in the areas of math, language arts, and science. Language arts extensions can further develop reading comprehension skills and strategies that will help in all standardized testing, and the social studies curriculum offers opportunities to practice language arts through historical content.
  • Students receive immediate feedback that helps build confidence, identify unique errors, and develop strategies for overcoming specific challenges.  This self-knowledge, confidence, and strategy use will ultimately benefit students in standardized testing, as well as everyday life.
  • Our High School Curriculum contains thousands of lessons in English language arts, math, social studies, and science that help to provide students with a well-rounded education.  Knowledge and skills in these areas are critical for success on the PEAKS assessments in ELA and math in 9th grade and science in 10th grade.

Through preparation and practice, your child can achieve successful results when taking standardized tests in Alaska. In addition, skill-building programs like Time4Learning can prepare your child and build their academic confidence while reducing test anxiety.

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